Political insiders who subscribe to former New York Times and Politico reporter Mike Allen's morning e-mail newsletter -- Axios AM -- might realize it's not really a "newsletter." It's more like a "Talking Points Memo," and the talking points are reliably Democratic in tone. Allen's Friday edition previewed the Nunes memo release under the headline "1 Big Thing: The memo's price." Team Axios found anonymous White House aides who think the president is screwing up, who "recognize their could be a high cost" to Trump's decision to allow the memo's release.


Jim VandeHei, the former Washington Post reporter and co-founder of Politico, inspired a "Special Report" to Axios.com email subscribers headlined "How American politics went insane, in 6 steps.” That was the cleaned-up version. Inside the e-mail it was how politics went “bat [guano] crazy.” Mike Allen, his Axios co-founder, huffed and puffed that “ There are lots of reasons American politics went off the rails, but his VandeHei has proclaimed “six seminal events” caused our current insanity.


Being interviewed by Axios Executive Editor Mike Allen at the Newseum in Washington D.C. Thursday morning, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg criticized social media rival Twitter for censoring an ad from Tennessee Congresswoman Marsh Blackburn announcing her Senate campaign.
 


Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner underlined how the media turned out to be wrong again -- projecting that chief of staff Reince Priebus would be bounced from the White House. Bedard cited a June Politico report headlined "Trump gives Priebus until July 4th to clean up White House," noting "That story was picked up by dozens of media outlets."


The broadcast networks morning and evening newscasts, along with the cable news networks, have largely ignored the Tuesday report from Axios's Mike Allen that Hillary Clinton's campaign team blames President Obama for her loss in the 2016 election. Charlie Rose mentioned the revelation in passing on Thursday's CBS This Morning: "You have reports, for example, that the Hillary campaign thought it began with President Obama not doing enough in terms of the Russian hacking."


For a liberal media that bemoans the idea of businesses and corporations being considered “people” post-Citizens United, BuzzFeed decided that they would cancel the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) advertising for their site due to Donald Trump’s candidacy threatening “the freedoms of our employees in the United States and around the world.”

 


This hasn't been a good week for Politico's Mike Allen. On Monday he apologized for email that had been revealed in which he promised Hillary Clinton's PR operative Phillippe Reines two years ago that he would submit questions in advance that he would ask Chelsea Clinton.  Today, Mike Allen again apologized for drawing the wrath of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel for revealing his family vacation plans to visit Cuba. The text of the exchange is quite tense but one must watch the video below to appreciate the absolute fury of Emanuel.


On Friday, Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post (HT Hot Air) gave "Four Pinocchios" (i.e., a "Whopper") to a statement President Barack Obama made about Senate Republicans' filibuster track record on Wednesday in a speech at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee dinner in Los Angeles.

In the process, Kessler essentially delivered a rebuke to reporters who cover Obama. Every one of them should have recognized that his DCCC claim that "since 2007, they (Republicans) have filibustered about 500 pieces of legislation that would help the middle class" is false. For it to be true, GOP senators would have had to average 68 filibusters per year only of middle-class relevant bills for the past 7-1/3 years. With the Senate being in session an average of just under 112 days per year during the time involved, that' an impossible frequency of more than one every other day. Excerpts from Kessler's critique follow the jump (links are in original; bolds are mine):


Just when it seemed that NBC's Meet the Press couldn't sink any lower, ratings for the last three months of 2013 for the Sunday morning news/interview show fell to its lowest level since the third quarter of 1992. That development has added to the speculation that liberal David Gregory might be on his way out as host.

From October through December, NBC's program came in third place for total viewers -- behind CBS's Face the Nation and ABC's This Week -- and the numbers among viewers in the important demographic from 25 to 54 years of age collapsed to their lowest level in the program's history.


Joe Scarborough is frequently panned in these parts for his propensity to pummel his presumably fellow Republicans.  So it's noteworthy when the Morning Joe host goes after the left for a change.

It happened on today's show, when Scarborough defended voter ID laws, saying most Americans don't think it's racist to require a photo ID when you show up to vote. and scalding the left for trying fit to politicians in North Carolina and Texas with symbolic KKK hoods.   Scarborough even forced a clearly reluctant Mike Allen of Politico to ultimately acknowledge his point.  View the video after the jump.


Imagine that FDR, in his first inaugural, instead of rallying Americans with the notion that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," had stoked the nation's unease by harping on how bad the Depression was.  If Mike Allen had been around in 1933, perhaps he would have defended FDR by writing "there was plenty of unease before the speech, so it's hard to blame the President."

For that is the same approach that the Politico's Allen took in his Playbook this morning in defending President Obama's divisive remarks of yesterday on Trayvon Martin and the Zimmerman trial.  Wrote Allen [emphasis added]: "Many conservatives are complaining that the remarks will stoke division and dissension. But there was plenty of that before, so it's hard to blame POTUS."  Some might accuse Allen of the soft bigotry of low expectations. More after the jump.


News organizations gotta pay the bills. Nothing's more normal than a newspaper, magazine or website—NewsBusters included—selling advertising, including ads by political or issue-advocacy groups.

But somehow it felt different to have opened my morning email from Mike Allen's "Politico Playbook" and find this message [screencap after jump] at the very top: "POLITICO Playbook, presented by the Rights and Responsibilities Tour by Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly." Allen's column often features ads from issue-advocacy groups, ranging across the issue spectrum.  But to so identify the column with sponsorship by one side of a controversial political issue would seem to raise serious journalistic issues.  More after the jump.